skinny mac and cheese

Skinny Lady “Mac + Cheese” [recipe]

You know those weird family recipes that float around, like peanut butter and bacon sandwiches and spaghetti in hot dog soup?  Others would cringe at the thought of them, but we swear they are the “BEST EVER”!  Today, I’m sharing one of those.  Today’s recipe isn’t quite at strange as peanut butter and bacon, but its an unlikely combination that’s SKINNY and insanely good.  I’ve been enjoying this skinny pasta since I was a wee one and I now refer to it as Skinny Lady “Mac + Cheese”.  This sophisticated imposter doesn’t actually contain cheese, but one taste and you’d swear it did!

skinny mac and cheese

Skinny Lady Mac + Cheese
a childhood (and now adulthood) favorite

Gather up:

  • two cups of cooked angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup fat free (or low fat) sour cream (you can add more sour cream if you’d like your pasta more “cheesy”)
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1-2 tsp. garlic salt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Prepare two cups of cooked pasta, strain it place back in warm saucepan.  Add sour cream, milk, butter and garlic powder-stir.  You may add more sour cream or milk to thicken or thin the consistency.

Add salt & pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

DSCN0849 (800x565)

What strange family recipes to you have floating around in your repertoire?  Please do share!

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cucumber mango skinny margarita

Skinny Cucumber Mango Margarita [skinny cocktail]

It’s too bad I didn’t come up with this recipe before Cinco de Mayo, but you know what they say…anything worth having is worth waiting for, and this skinny margarita recipe was definitely worth waiting for.   I love me a good, fresh margarita.  The problem is that good margaritas are hard to come by, lots of bars use cheap tequila and sugary, calorie packed sour mix.  Drink those and you’ll end up with nothing but a guilty conscience and a gauranteed hangover.  Today’s skinny margarita recipe is everything but that, it combines fresh ingredients with my absolute favorite Bai mango juice for a taste that’s SO GOOD you won’t believe it’s SKINNY too!

cucumber mango skinny margarita
Cucumber Mango Skinny Margarita [recipe]

mango-bai -juice

INGREDIENTS

4 oz. 100% blue agave tequila

6 oz. Bai Malawi Mango Juice (can substitute for regular mango juice, but this serving of Bai has less than 5 calories!)

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp. diced cucumber

soda water

crushed ice

METHOD

In a cocktail shaker, add 1 cup crushed ice, tequila, Bai mango juice, lime juice and diced cucumber, shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Split into two glasses (including crushed ice), then top each drink off with a splash of soda water.  Garnish with a fresh cucumber wedge and enjoy!

cucumber mango skinny margarita5 mmmmmmm….look at all that frothy deliciousness…… cucumber mango skinny margarita3
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healthy-family-dinners-quick

10 Simple & Healthy Weeknight Dinners [recipes]

My typical weeknight goes a little something like this… I walk through the door at 7pm, Brett’s just coming home from the gym; we kick off our shoes and glance at each other with pained looks on our face and say “takeout?”, or “why don’t we just go out”.  Then it’s back out to the car for a trip to our favorite local restaurant, or worse…Chinese takeout…dun dun dahhh.  There are so many quick and healthy weeknight meals we could whip up, but most of the time we’re simply unprepared or “too tired”!  There’s always an excuse, but excuses no more!  I’ve put together a list of ten healthy family meals that are simple to make, hopefully I’ll give some of these a try this week ;)

healthy-simple-family-dinners

Simple & Healthy Weeknight Meals

 #1: Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Goat Cheese [recipe]

  skinny-mac-and-cheese

#2: Skillet Shrimp Cous Cous [recipe]

healthy-shrimp-cous-cous-bake

#3: Healthy Turkey Stroganoff [recipe]

healthy-turkey-stroganof

#4: Beef & Green Bean Stir Fry [recipe]

healthy beef stir fry

#5: Health Pasta Carbonara [recipe]

healthy pasta carbonara

#6: Cheesy Baked Pasta with Vegetables [recipe]

healthy baked pasta

#7: Chopped Greek Chicken Salad [recipe]

chopped-greek-chicken-salad

#8: Better Than Take Out Pad Thai [recipe]

easy pad thai

#9: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Califlower Crust [recipe]
califlower crust pizza-bbq-chicken

#10: Baked Stuffed Zuchini [recipe]
baked stuffed zuchini

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skinny-chicken-cacciatore2

Skinny Chicken Cacciatore [recipe]

During the winter, I’m all about hearty comfort foods for dinner. I love warming up my belly with a nice, big Italian dish like Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Cacciatore…who doesn’t, right? These dishes taste great, but they won’t help you get bikini ready any quicker, that’s for sure! It was Brett’s turn to cook dinner the other night, so he made one of our favorite Italian dishes, only with a much healthier twist…I think I’ll keep him around after this yummy dish =) This is Brett’s very first recipe contribution on Picklee, introducing Brett’s Skinny Chicken Cacciatore recipe!

Brett’s Healthy Chicken Cacciatore [recipe]
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. boneless  & skinless chicken breasts, sliced and pounded thin
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large onion, cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • cooked whole wheat thin spaghetti (standard serving is one cup of cooked pasta per person)

METHOD:

In a large skillet, bring 1 tbsp. olive oil to medium heat.  Lightly coat chicken with herbs de Provence, salt & pepper, then add to skillet.  Cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown, then remove from pan and set aside.

In same skillet, bring remaining (1 tbsp) olive oil to medium heat.  Add onion, carrots and bell peppers then saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add white wine and crushed garlic, cook on medium for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Last, add crushed tomatoes and basil.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top whole wheat pasta with a chicken, then pour sauce on top.  Sprinkle a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the sauce if you wish =)

YUM!


pesto green pea pasta

Pesto & Green Pea Pasta {recipe}

I’m constantly finding myself stuck when it comes to weeknight meals…I always have trouble thinking of something quick, healthy and different to make.  Pasta is usually my go-to dish, I like to load it up with veggies and add a basic sauce like tomato, but that tends to get old after a while.  In an effort to mix things up, I experimented with a healthier pesto pasta dish the other night.  I mixed up a simple, fresh pesto then added some green peas for an extra pop of flavor!  I enjoyed this pasta as a main dish, but it would make a great side dish along too!  Here’s my simple Pesto & Green Pea Pasta recipe…

Pesto & Green Pea Pasta [serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side]

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound wheat linguine

1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed

3/4 cup packed torn basil leaves

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

Cook pasta according to directions.  In a food processor or chopper, combine basil, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, blend until chopped and well mixed. In warm sauce pan, combine pasta and pesto sauce, then add thawed peas. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve alone or as a side =)

Enjoy!

banana bread pudding

Banana Bread Pudding for One {recipe}

My sweet tooth gets the best of me WAY too often…which is why I’m always looking for healthier ways to satisfy it =) One of my favorite sweets is bread pudding, but making it is usually a long process that leaves me with a week worth of leftovers (which I’ll consume within the first two days…) You can only begin to imagine my delight when I came across this healthy bread pudding recipe on The Vegan Stoner recently, I knew that it was an immediate MUST TRY.  I made a few modifications to the recipe, including cutting down the recipe to a single size serving ;)

Banana Bread Pudding [for one]

INGREDIENTS

one banana

1/8 cup brown sugar

1.8 cup white sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 slices of bread (your choice, I used sprouted wheat)

1 tbsp melted butter (optional)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut banana into thin slices and toss with brown sugar, set aside.  In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, sugar and vanilla extract (just until a very light simmer).  Add bread to pan, allow the bread to soak in the liquid for one minute.  In a small baking dish (or divided into two ramekins), add a layer of bread, then banana slices, bread again, then more banana slices.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until top is light golden brown.

Remove from oven and drizzle a bit of melted butter on top (optional).  Bon appetite!

 

turket strog

Healthy Turkey Stroganoff {recipe}

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! I feel like I ate enough to feed a family of four…but that’s okay, I enjoyed every second of it, along with spending some much needed quality time with friends and family =)  Now that the feasts are over (well, at least for another three or four weeks), I’m working on getting back to making some of my “skinny“ meals. One of my favorite meals is good ol’ traditional beef stroganoff; but of course it’s not the healthiest option, so I’ve given this comfort dish a “skinny” twist!  Surprisingly, I actually enjoy this much healthier version just as much as it’s guilty counterpart!  Here’s my recipe for Healthy Turkey Stroganoff

Make this recipe using your leftover Thanksgiving turkey too!

Healthy Turkey Stroganoff (recipe)
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

one pound of ground turkey (or leftover turkey meat, diced)

one package of sliced mushroom

one large onion, diced

one cup fat free Greek yogurt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp worcheshire sauce

3/4 cup beef gravy

salt & pepper to taste

1 lb cooked egg noodles

METHOD

Cook egg noodles according to instructions, strain then set aside. 

Add olive oil to skillet and bring to medium heat, add mushrooms and onion and sautee for 3-4 minutes.  Add ground turkey and sautee until turkey is cooked fully.  If using leftover turkey meat, simply add turkey meat after mushrooms and onions have cooked for 6-8 minutes. 

Once turkey meat, mushrooms & onions are cooked, add worcestershire sauce, Greek yogurt and gravy-continue to cook on medium heat for approx. 5 more minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve turkey stroganoff on a beg of egg noodles-enjoy!

 

 

chocolate marshmallow top cupcakes

Spotted Chocolate Mini Cakes {skinny recipe}

I really enjoy baking… mainly because of my own sweet tooth, but also because I find it somewhat therapeutic.  Don’t ask me why, but when I start baking my mind tends to focus so much on the dish that I’ll actually start to forget about my stresses!  Having said that, sometimes I’ll be so eager to bake that I’ll forget to check for all the ingredients…this leads to lots of improvising (sometimes good, sometimes not so much)!  This happened recently while in the midst of satisfying a (skinny) chocolate cupcake craving.  Right as the cupcakes went into the oven, I realized I had no frosting…so I searched the web and racked my brain for a simple solution.  I decided to use mini toasted marshmallow toppers, and I love the way they turned out!   

The mini toasted marshmallow tops gave the cupcakes a funky polka dotted look, a fun twist I did not expect!

Spotted Chocolate Mini Cakes [skinny recipe]

Makes approx. 24 mini cupcakes

Each skinny mini cupcake is approx. 85 calories

INGREDIENTS

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup mini marshmallows (for topping)
 
METHOD
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 
Line mini cupcake tins with liners.
 
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in the yogurt, then gradually add in the water. Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix to combine, then beat in the egg until the batter is well blended.
 
Pour battern into cupcake tins. Bake for 10-12 minutes (until toothpick comes out almost clean), then remove from oven and quickly add three mini marshmallows to the top of each cupcake.  Insert back into oven and bake for another 1-2 minutes, until marshmallows toast.  
 
Remove from oven and let cool.  Enjoy your skinny spotted chocolate cupcakes!

 

chicken sausage pizza

Chicken Sausage & Sweet Potato Naan Pizza [recipe]

I love pizza…of course, who doesn’t!?  Sadly, pizza is not exactly on the list of healthy dinner options =(  So after a serious pizza craving the other night, I decided to make up a healthy pizza option (well, at least a MUCH healthier option)  I grabbed a package of naan bread, which seemed perfect since it’s already in the pizza shape…and made up a mixture of toppings, starting with sweet potatoes!  I was amazed at how delicious my healthy pizza turned out, the naan was perfectly crispy and the mixture of toppings blended just right! Of course I had to share, so here it is, the Chicken Sausage & Sweet Potato Naan Pizza

Chicken Sausage & Sweet Potato Naan Pizza

Recipe Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS:

1 package of naan bread (usually contains 2 pieces, this recipe requires 2 pieces)

1 large sweet potato

2 links of pre-cooked chicken sausage, diced (I used Al Fresco All Natural Sweet Italian)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped spinach

3 tbsp. skim milk

1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped

3/4-1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, I used a mixture of mozzarella and brie)

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Using a fork, pierce raw sweet potato several times.  Bake on rack for approx. 45 minutes or until soft.

While sweet potato is baking, heat olive oil on a low heat in a medium skillet.  Add onion and a dash of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes until onion has caramelized. Add spinach and cook until wilted, approx. 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a small skillet to medium heat, add a dash of olive oil and diced chicken sausage.  Sausage should already be pre-cooked, so just lightly saute it for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside.

Once potato is soft, scoop out the insides into a medium bowl.  Add skim milk, sage and salt, mix until smooth.  Keep oven heated to 400 degrees, the pizza’s going in soon!

Now it’s time to prepare the pizza!  Lay out the two pieces of naan bread on a large baking sheet.  Cover each piece with a layer of sweet potato, add onion and spinach mixture on top of the sweet potato.  Last, add the chicken sausage to each piece, then sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

greek yogurt pancakes

Greek Yogurt Pancakes {recipe}

By now, you can probably tell that I have a small love affair with pancakes. I eat pancakes for breakfast just about every weekend, so it’s only natural that I try lots and lots of pancake recipes like these blubber blasters and the slammin banana’s…of course, I’m on a never ending mission to create a healthy pancake that truly tastes amazing.  I’ve tried many variations of “healthy pancakes” that claim to taste great, but have sadly turned out to be major flops…many of them going straight into the garbage can :(

So last weekend, I took another stab at creating the healthy pancakes, this time using one of my favorite ingredients- Greek yogurt.  All I can say is that when I had my first bite of this healthy Greek yogurt pancake fireworks went off and angels came down from the sky!  These pancakes are seriously amazing.  They are super light and fluffy and much healthier than the average pancake, yet don’t taste “healthy” at all.  So here they are, finally, a healthy pancake recipe that tastes amazing-The Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes [recipe]

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

6 oz of fat free plain Greek yogurt

2 egg whites (or one egg)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

a few dashes of cinnamon

optional: one packet of Stevia natural sweetener (if you like your pancakes a little on the sweeter side)

METHOD:

In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and egg whites and vanilla extract, whip together until smooth.  Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon, stir until there are no lumps.  Batter will be very thick, this is how it should be, but if you like very thin pancakes, you can always add a bit of milk to thin the batter.

Coat a griddle or large pan with a bit of non-stick spray or butter, bring to medium heat.  Pour pancake batter into 6-8″ circles,  wait for bubbles to appear on the tops, then flip!  Each side should be golden brown.

Dust pancakes with powdered sugar and a small pad of butter before serving-enjoy!